With shells tinkling in the pocket of his flannel, William Barron walks at his own slow pace along the shoreline. Giving no worry to the waves, he lets them rush at him and up around his ankles, filling his leather boots with seawater. He enjoys feeling his socks suck in all they can take and the first blooming of ice on his toes. A sensation recalled from childhood, back when he wasn’t so aware of the universe.
An older couple walks by, arm in arm, whispering into each others ears. Discussing what might drive a man to walk in the freezing pacific on such a cloudy day. William relaxes his mind to feel the lick of their curiosity and judgement on his skin as they stroll past. Putting in almost no effort, a strange muddle of the couple’s thoughts becomes clear.
“…What is he doing?… Is he crazy? Homeless? Oh, but he’s so handsome… damn seagulls… flying rats… He must be crazy… I sure hope he doesn’t just walk into the ocean… Crazy like my damn sister… But what if he did… Maybe I should…”
The two pass by quickly and William lets them go, they aren’t the type for him. Such shallow folks weren’t worth the bother.
When his toes begin to go numb, he wanders back towards the dry sand. A thought later, his boots, socks, and feet are dry. Simple molecule manipulation, nothing compared to what he is capable of.
A child’s laughter floats over to him on the wind and he decides to investigate. Half a mile on, there’s a woman and her toddler boy playing catch with a ball. Their blanket is placed high up in the dunes, far away from the dangerous waves.
As William nears their spot on the gloomy beach the mother sits back down on their blanket. Laughing and playful, she motions for the dark haired boy to sit across from her and help make what William can only guess is a sand castle.
He’s a polite distance from the young woman when her thoughts come in clearly, her happy face masking fear and anger.
“…He’s missing everything…Asshole doesn’t deserve to know his son, I don’t need him. I’ll get through this… I need a second job, fuck the car payment’s due tomorrow, I can send the power bill off late… shit…”
It’s grim, but nothing unusual. He’s learned long ago that most people have a constant circle of problems that play on repeat in their heads. While watching them interact, William decides he needs a ‘pick me up’ before his thirty minute drive across town to the weekly AA meeting and he gently intervenes.
Within seconds, the young woman screams, “Oh my god!” as she unearths the large diamond ring William has planted for her to find in sand. Her happiness is a golden bath of silk as it meets his energy field. Good, but not good enough.
With a glance from William the boy’s beach ball skitters towards the wildly crashing waves. Naturally, the boy follows.
The ring has become the young mother’s main focus and she forgets momentarily about her tiny son. Chatting away on the phone with a friend, reporting her good fortune, she doesn’t even notice that William is seated closer to her. Watching, waiting for the outpour of emotion.
The toddler is nearly there. William glances back and forth between the two, anticipating how this might play out.
Still she laughs and smiles into the phone.
Tripping in the sand, the boy gives his distracted mother a few more seconds to save his life and still she doesn’t see. Finally, he gives a loud cry when the ball flys into the water and gains the attention of his mother.
“Harry!” She desperately yells over and over while sprinting down to the water’s edge. Reaching him just as the first chilling wave crashes over his head and he gurgles, “Mommy!”.
William, playing the concerned citizen, runs with her to the boy. All the while, drinking in the mother’s fear, guilt, and love. It is exquisite. Not your everyday find. He watches closely as she cradles her little boy to her chest and weeps, thankful he is unharmed.
William remembers getting this feeling when it flowed from his own mother. It would radiate from her energy as she comforted him after every exorcism his father attempted. It was the only good part about the experience. The knowledge that she would be there afterwards, feeding his spirit with her strong emotions. Back then he didn’t realize that’s what was happening. By now though, he’s perfected it.
The surge of her feelings fades quickly and William turns and without a word, walks away. Their use is fulfilled and his thoughts stray to the past.
The sixties were a different time. People still feared what they consider myth now. His father believed that it was possible to chase the devil from William’s tiny body. That it would stop the changes he experienced every year. Looking back, William understood his father’s desperation; they were not your normal changes. As a highly religious man, he was convinced that telepathy, mind reading, and body healing were all signs that his son was possessed. Even at the young age of seven, William knew that he was different. Not a demon, but definitely different.
William met his first angel and demon when he was five, so he knew they were actually the same being, esthetically anyway. Like humans, their behavior is good or bad depending on the personality.
Their true form is like looking into the void of space, kind of an undulating shadow that mimic humans. Other people however, only see what the shadow wants them to see. Which was why some are described as haloed beauties and some are said to have horns atop a fearsome grimace.
From what William has seen, they all possess full, twisted sense of humors and his general opinion is that most of God’s minions have been on earth much too long.
God’s Shadows, like William, had a need for high drama. Meaning he crossed paths with them quite often. They ignore him usually, due to the fact that he rarely emits his own emotional energy but sometimes they make themselves a pest. Trying to ruin a plot he’d orchestrated or like at the moment, following him around trying to pick up his sloppy seconds.
“Move along, shadow.” he turns and says to the inky black that hovers behind him.
“You see? You know?” it says in the universal tinny rasp of his kind.
“Yes. Move along.”
“No!” William yelled back at it.
“Why?” It asks and moves to float in front of William as he walks back towards his beach house.
He calmly gives it an explanation. “I am done today, there will be no more for you. Go. Don’t come back.”
“I follow.” it says stubbornly.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Williams says under his breath and keeps walking, deciding to just ignore it until it goes away.
“I do not. I follow. I help.”
William can feel anger stirring in him but he makes sure to keep it locked inside his energy field. A talent that took many years to gain. “I don’t need your damn help. Go!”
The shadow moves closer and whispers, “You will…”
The picture is a friend of Cyranny’s that she suggested for the look of William. I agreed!
His photo is from the site below and taken by Simon Normand